The President’s Charge
The University of Michigan has a fierce and longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. President Mark S. Schlissel has reaffirmed this value, making diversity, equity, and inclusion a key priority of his presidency. At the University of Michigan, our dedication to academic excellence for the public good and the advancement of knowledge is inseparable from our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We cannot be excellent without being diverse. Furthermore, it is central to our mission as an educational institution to ensure that each member of our community has full and equitable opportunity to thrive in our environment. To promote these values, we are charged by President Schlissel to participate in a university-wide planning process to produce a five-year strategic plan that will enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the university.
Goals: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We commit to increasing diversity, which is expressed in myriad forms, including race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitments, age, (dis)ability status, parental status, and political perspective.
We commit to working actively to challenge and respond to bias, harassment, and discrimination. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, parental status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status.
We commit to pursuing deliberate efforts to ensure that our campus is a place where differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard, and every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We know that by building a critical mass of diverse groups on campus and creating a vibrant climate of inclusiveness, we can more effectively leverage the resources of diversity to advance our collective capabilities.
Rationale: Mission, Vision, and Values of Rackham Graduate School
Since conferring its first doctoral degree in 1876, the University of Michigan has advanced the value of graduate education in meeting society’s needs. In 1935, donor Mary Rackham worked with President Alexander Ruthven to endow the Graduate School with the means to support graduate education at Michigan. Today, the Rackham Graduate School is the home of graduate education at the University of Michigan. More than 8,200 students are enrolled in Rackham’s 111 doctoral, 100 master’s, and 38 certificate programs situated within the schools and colleges of the University. Rackham brings together a community of scholars, researchers, and students across these programs, joined together by the rigors of their academic pursuits and connected through the Rackham Building. More than 112,000 Rackham alumni all over the world bring their talent and training to the problems they encounter and can claim important accomplishments within their professional and personal lives.
The Rackham Graduate School has a history and tradition of valuing the diversity of its students as an essential dimension of excellence in graduate education and in all the tenets of what graduate education seeks to do: the creation of knowledge, new discoveries, finding solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, and training the leaders who will positively shape every industry and aspect of the human endeavor. In order to achieve the goals of graduate education, Rackham sees as fundamental participation of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups; students who are underrepresented by gender in their field; students with disabilities; students from socially, culturally, economically, or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students; undocumented and DACAmented students; student veterans; non-traditional age students; and students from nationalities around the world.
Towards this end, Rackham acts on multiple fronts together with graduate programs and groups of students to directly and indirectly attract, support, and empower a diverse student body from admission to graduation and beyond. To graduate programs Rackham provides structural supports such as funding, training and resources on recruitment, mentoring, and influencing change from within the program. To students Rackham provides additional funding, resources, events, and partnerships with student organizations serving all students including those focused on a range of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice issues. Rackham also shares stories about a wide range of students and alumni on its website, blog, and social media in order to convey a welcoming and inclusive climate for the entire Rackham community.